A CONVENTIONAL CORPSE is one fun read. Hess has created some wildly wacky mystery authors and treats us to a top-notch puzzle as well.

Claire Malloy has more troubles than you can shake a stick at.

Her romance with police lieutenant Peter Rosen is definitely on the downswing now that Peters been spending time with his ex-wife. Her teenage daughter Caron is troublesome, and business in her bookstore is slow. As if that's not enough, Claire finds herself in charge of a mystery convention at the local college.

The authors attending are favorites of Claire's, but all seem determined to cause trouble. When editor Roxanna Small shows up, tempers flare and battles erupt. When a conventioneer dies mysteriously and the obnoxious Roxanne vanishes, Peter Rosen gets the case. Now Claire has to deal with a murder investigation and an aching heart as well.

(Aug., 320 pp., $6.50—Hardcover published June 2000)

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg